Some judging criteria will be common to almost all obstacles and include the following:
Rider’s cues should be quiet and almost invisible to attain a high score. Jerking and snatching will cause a low score. We will use a 0-10 point system for horse and rider. Total points available per obstacle is 20.
Rider should maintain good balance, not balance off the horse’s mouth and not cause the horse to lose balance.
Rider should maintain good awareness of surroundings and stay in a safe environment.
Horse should respond softly and quietly to rider’s cues. No balking, gaping of mouth, rearing, breaking of gait, or avoidance of direction rider wishes to travel. A horse will not be penalized for looking at or sniffing an obstacle unless there is prolonged hesitation or snorting or other signs of alarm.
When asked to transition from one gait to another, the horse should respond immediately and without signs of irritation.
Loss of control of your horse is considered a major mistake and will incur a larger deduction.
Criteria for specific obstacles include:
If a horse’s hoof contacts an obstacle, such as but not limited to cavaletti, it will incur a penalty(ies).
In a side pass, the horse’s feet must cross in front, not behind and not even with one another.
When backing, a horse must move with an even, relaxed cadence, not in a rush or dragging.
A horse must maintain whatever gait is called for in the obstacle.
For a turn on the fore, the horse’s front end must stay in one spot and the back feet travel around.
For a turn on the haunches, the horse’s back end must stay in one spot and the front feet travel around.
A stop is a complete cessation of movement in any direction.
When jumping, a rider should not land hard in the saddle or cause the horse to run into the bit upon landing.
At a gate, the rider must maintain hand contact and control of the gate at all times.
Mounting and dismounting should be done in a safe manner according to the discipline in which you are riding. If riding in a Western saddle, you may step down instead of sliding down horse’s side. However, if you pull the horse off balance or noticeably pull on the horse to the side there will be deductions. If the horse moves during mounting or dismounting there will be deductions.
Having to turn loose of an obstacle without being instructed to do so is a larger deduction.